Stefano Borgonovo, Finance & Administrator Director, talks about financial leadership in the company, the role of CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and changes which the crisis caused.
What do you mean by Financial Leadership?
The world is always in continuous evolution and in recent years these changes have experienced a big push with digitalization. The frenetic pace, the availability of billions of pieces of information at a click, the shift of the areas of greatest economic interest in the world, the volatility of the stock and currency markets are all elements that make it increasingly difficult for companies to do business and add complexity to defining the appropriate strategy to follow.
Consequently, Financial Leadership too, which is embodied in the role of the CFO, has undergone a transformation in which the historically required technical skills such as accounting, treasury and control are increasingly delegated to colleagues specializing in each subject and the CFO is required to rise to the role of Business Partner of the CEO.
The CEO and the CFO are the key and complementary roles in a company, as their experience and partnership create important synergies for the company and put at the top a successful combination in which the company’s mission and the typical strategic vision of the CEO are perfectly complemented by the economic-financial strategy and the culture of results typical of the CFO.
How does financial leadership come into the everyday life of a company?
In a company decisions that have an economic and financial impact on the company's results, whether present or future, are made every day. The more important the decision is the more, prospectively, it will influence the company’s results, both positively and negatively. Every decision has a 50% chance of being right and a 50% chance of being wrong, so the decision-making process must be as accurate as possible and above all it must always consider alternative scenarios or '' What ifs'', to avoid being caught unprepared in case corrective actions are required.
The functional managers, including the CFO, make up the reference team who, with their experience and technical expertise, bring their added value in the decision-making process, helping to make the best decision.
In particular, financial leadership should always be able to evaluate the results achieved or expected after actions, plans and strategic decisions in order to confirm the validity of the same from an economic or financial point of view or, if necessary, to implement the corrective measures.
The crisis of recent years has led to a reconsideration of the foundations and objectives of Finance. How has this changed in a company like Polti?
Matters that were historically considered objectives for Finance, such as the good keeping of accounting records, prudent and efficient administrative management, are now prerequisites and the new objective of Finance is to create value.
The mission of Finance, especially at a time of crisis, is to ensure that the resources available to the business are used in the most efficient and effective way to guarantee the maximum return on the investment made. By managing the delicate balance between resources and results, and identifying in advance corrective actions for the achievement of the set objectives, Finance truly creates value.
Clearly the fertile ground to work on is the culture of responsibility and results, therefore the CFO should be the main promoter of this way of thinking within the company.
What is the most important success you have achieved in Polti?
The most important success is what will come, we don’t have to waste time basking in our successes, but we should constantly look forward. There is always something to achieve and that can be done better.
Personally I measure the success of a manager not only for what he achieves but also for the attitude that he encourages.
I believe very much in the growth process, both of the person and of the group, based on the increase of self-esteem, self-effectiveness and self-determination to bring out unrealised skills and lead the person to consciously take possession of their potential. It’s essential to understand that we can each individually make an important contribution and make the difference to aid the achievement of the company’s goals set.